Tennessee Tree Toppers

Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
August 24, 1998

It's high hurricane season in the tropics, which usually puts us right in the doldrums. The weather's been dominated by a strong high pressure system that's taken up residence around here the last several days, effectively suppressing the kind of air movement we appreciate. Nevertheless, good timing, tenacity, and skill took a few to the clouds.

Jeff Dodgen had an early flight Saturday in which he reported good air mixture for the forecast conditions, but nothing sufficient to climb out. He launched later with Clark Harlow and John Lawton when the convection was working better. They all struggled valiantly in the gap for the first few hundred feet. Typical of summer, it seemed to be relatively stable below ridge level then turned on once over. They were all eventually able to achieve max altitude gains between 3500 and 4100 over. John reported making cloudbase over Henson's Gap and Cagle Mountain. Clark went to Buck's Knob and back. The light wind allowed roaming in any direction once over the ridge and in the generous lift. Dennis Felts and I couldn't find the elusive first thermal to get us there and were instead chased by sink to the LZ.

It was similar but perhaps not as good Sunday when Kathy Lee launched at around noon to work very light lift between 500 below and 700 over for about an hour. The rest of us waited for a sign on launch, but none was seen and we eventually paraded to the LZ.

The forecast calls for clear skies with light north winds Wednesday. Continued clear and northerly Thursday, perhaps veering to NE. Southerly with a return of clouds Friday. Cooler Saturday with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, eventually becoming northerly. See you in the sky!